The city of Saskatoon has been bucked off the bull before starting its 8 seconds hosting the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
In July, the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and city of Saskatoon came to a Memorandum of Understanding to hold the event in the city for 2017, 2018 and 2019, moving from Edmonton, where it had been for the past 43 years.
However, Tourism Saskatoon President and CEO Todd Brandt says the CPRA decided to enter back into negotiations with the city of Edmonton, and came to an agreement to continue hosting the event in Edmonton.
Brandt says “we were honestly quite surprised that they didn’t live up to their end of the deal. That’s been the difficult part around this and honestly, in my 19 years, this is unprecedented”.
He says at this point, most memorandums of understanding lead to signing the deal and completing the contract.
Brandt also says during negotiations, the CPRA “had a lot of business intelligence on their advisory council, people that understood the nature of the proposal we had put in front of them, and between the senior staff, the advisory council and negotiating committee, everybody was on board with Saskatoon”. Brandt says “for them to ignore the considered opinions of that senior group of people, that was surprising to us”.
Brandt says there is no legal ramification because a memorandum of understanding is similar to a formal handshake.
However, he says the city had started work on a three year plan to create and grow the event in the community. Brandt says they were planning to hold a major agriculture trade event coinciding with the Canadian Finals Rodeo, and “we know we lost the opportunity to attract, quite frankly, thousands of Albertans across the border that are fans of the CFR”.
In April, Tourism Saskatoon estimated the event would have made $73 million in economic impact.